Who Is Crystal Dunn? New Details On The U.S. Women's Soccer Defender Competing In The World Cup

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Who Is Crystal Dunn? New Details On The U.S. Women's Soccer Defender Competing In The World Cup

The first part of the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup began on June 11th, and the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team will play Sweden today. In the two games they’ve played so far, they defeated Thailand 13-0 and Chile 3-0. And if they win the game against Sweden, they will advance to the next round.

Because the U.S. team is the most successful team in international women’s soccer, winning three Women’s World Cup titles and four Olympic gold medals, they filed a recent lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation for unequal pay. Their male counterpart team doesn’t win as often, and the women’s team alleges that the Federation is in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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But what do we know about these individual players and their personal lives? The more we know, the more layers we add to being a soccer fan. So, who is Crystal Dunn? Here are 6 things to know about the forward AND defender on the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team.

1. She began playing soccer in high school.

While attending high school in New Hyde Park, New York, she was a forward, midfielder, and team captain for two years. She helped her team win the state championships in 2006, 2007, and 2009. She also played on club teams Albertson Fury, RVC Tornadoes, and RVC Power.

In her high school career, she won Parade All-American, New York Player of the Year, First-team All-State, All-New York First Team, 2009 NSCAA, ESPNRise, and was the New York Gatorade High School Player of the Year.

During her senior year, she was named Newsday’s Long Island Player of the Year, Nassau County Class A Player of the Year, New York Sportswriters Class A Player of the Year, BigAppleSoccer.com youth Player of the Year, won the Mike Clark Award for the best all-around athlete in Nassau County.

2. She then went on to play in college.

Dunn attended University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and though she majored in sociology, she continued to play soccer for the Tar Heels. During this time, she was also playing for the United States under-20 women’s national soccer team and played in the 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Japan. She helped the Tar Heels win the NCAA Women's Soccer Championship that same year.

She also won the 2013 Hermann Trophy, ACC Athlete of the Year, ACC Defender of the Year, and the 2012 Honda Award for Soccer. In her senior year, she won ACC Offensive Player of the Year, NSCAA All-American, and First-team All-ACC.

3. She eventually became professional.

In 2014, she was drafted to Washington Spirit, where she played until joining FA WSL 1 club Chelsea in 2017, where she spent a year in England. In 2018, she returned to Washington Spirit, and began playing for North Carolina Courage. Dunn has played in the 2013 Algarve Cup, the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship.

In 2015, she won the NWSL Most Valuable Player Award and the Golden Boot Awards, and at age 23, became the youngest player to win both.

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4. She plays multiple positions.

Though she’s technically a defender, Dunn is more of an attacker. She will start on defense but will “bring a forward’s attacking mindset with her.” According to her, “I know when I do play the attacking role, I annoy defenders... I’ve always been told to put my own twist on the outside back role. I just make it my own.”

5. It’s her first World Cup.

In 2015, Dunn was cut from the World Cup roster, but this time around, she made it all the way to the end. “It’s made me stronger, it’s made me grow in ways that I wouldn’t have grown if I didn’t have to go through a challenging moment like that. Looking back, it all worked out, but in that moment I was like, ‘Wow, this is really awful,’” she said regarding her disappointment.

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But now, she’s ready to play. She told People Magazine, “I’m really excited. I’m just prepared for whatever — it’s a really long tournament so I’m just staying focused on what’s in front of me... It’s been four years that I’ve been waiting for this moment. It was a great moment for me.”

And her coach, Jill Ellis, believes she’s an asset to the team: “Dunny has had an accelerated learning curve. The growth and the sophistication, the subtleties, the nuances of learning that position, she’s made good strides. Dunny’s someone that recognizes she wants to continue to grow in that position.”

6. She’s married.

In December 2018, Dunn tied the knot with her now-husband, Pierre Soubrier, the head of sports medicine and performance for the Colorado Rapids. The couple met at work when Dunn was playing for USNWT and Soubrier was the  Washington Spirit trainer!

Said Dunn, “We met at work. He was an athletic trainer and that’s where our paths crossed. Similar jobs. He loves the game. I always have this great support system because he’s just as passionate about the game as I am. Over the dinner table it’s definitely a good conversation.”

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Samantha Maffucci is an editor for YourTango who focuses on writing trending news and entertainment pieces. In her free time, you can find her obsessing about cats, wine, and all things Vanderpump Rules.